Orders of face masks, test kits and other urgently needed medical equipment made by 3M, Owens & Minor and PerkinElmer are sitting in warehouses across China, unable to receive necessary official clearances.
How frickin hard is it to make this crap? I know nothing about it and I could have already fired up a company and started producing shit by now but nobody wants to compete with cheap Chinese crap... That's why GE made the gov't sign a contract BEFORE making ventilators.
What surprises me about this is we got GM and Ford to make ventilators....but we can't say, get 3M, Wix, Purolator SC Johnson Wax, or heck even K&N to make masks. Heck GM and Ford I'm sure have capacity to make paper goods I'm sure. An N95 mask is light-years simpler than a ventilator.
Talk about a wild west crap storm- the business I work for is trying to import masks and there are so many scammers trying to either take orders for subpar product or just take the money and run. And then there's the fact that some masks are approved for use in Europe but not in the U.S. If you don't know better, you order and then your shipment is either returned to China or seized by the Feds. And my boss is super careful about doing his homework to verify FDA certification. I can't even imagine what's being sold to people who don't know anything about how the market is working.
New Chinese export restrictions have left American companies’ U.S.-bound face masks, test kits and other medical equipment urgently needed to fight the coronavirus stranded, according to businesses and U.S. diplomatic memos.
Large quantities of critical protective gear and other medical goods are sitting in warehouses across China unable to receive necessary official clearances, said some suppliers and brokers.
Health-care equipment maker PerkinElmer Inc., based in Massachusetts, is unable to ship 1.4 million test kits for Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, from its Suzhou factory because it lacks a certification required by the new rules, according to a State Department memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
A Shanghai vice mayor told Minnesota-based conglomerate 3M Co. that the city “relies on 3M’s locally produced N-95 respirators for its Covid-19 prevention efforts and lacks viable alternatives,” a second memo said. The official “signaled that lifting restrictions on distribution of the company’s masks would require instructions from Beijing,” the memo said.
PerkinElmer said it is working with the Chinese government to clear the test kits. 3M said it has received shipments from China and is working to coordinate more, though fewer planes are available than usual.
The policies were instituted this month, and Chinese officials have said they are intended to ensure the quality of exported medical products and to make sure needed goods aren’t being shipped out of China. Instead, they have created bottlenecks at a time of urgent need, according to the suppliers, brokers and the State Department memos.
China’s policies have “disrupted established supply chains for medical products just as these products were most needed for the global response to Covid-19,” according to one of the memos sent this week. The State Department didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. and other countries is soaring, surpassing two million globally. Across the U.S., hospitals and local governments, as in many other countries, are running short of masks and ventilators to treat patients, protect medical workers and shore up emergency stockpiles.
“Every single day we don’t have the proper protective equipment is a new health-care worker exposed, is a new hole in the ship that is our current hospital system and ICU bed structure,” said Illinois Deputy Gov. Christian Mitchell, who is overseeing procurement for the state. He said at least one vendor told him to expect delays of six to 10 days for a shipment from China because of the new certifications.
Asked about the complaints of export problems, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters in Beijing on Wednesday that China wants to ensure the quality of exported medical products given their importance. “Countries across the world are all hunting for medical supplies, causing a big challenge for China’s efforts of quality control and regulation of export,” the Chinese Embassy in Washington said.
China is an almost irreplaceable supplier, making more than 40% of the world’s imports of masks, gloves, goggles, visors and medical garments, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
In recent weeks the U.S. set up a task force among its diplomats in China to help American companies, states and the government procure and ship medical supplies such as masks, gloves and ventilators to the U.S., people familiar with the matter said. One of the people said there are signs the shipment bottlenecks are easing somewhat.
The logjams are adding to strained ties between the Communist government and the Trump administration, which have traded blame over the pandemic while also pledging to work together. President Xi Jinping, in a phone call last month, promised to help the U.S. in dealing with the pandemic.
China has been stung by criticism from the U.S. and others over its handling of the coronavirus. The Trump administration has particularly cited Beijing’s lack of transparency, which likely contributed to the virus’ spread.
To repair its image, China has tried to reshape perceptions about its role in the crisis, leveraging its manufacturing power to export crucial medical supplies to affected countries. Beijing was then hit with complaints from European countries about the quality of masks, gowns and other products they received.
The export restrictions then followed. Chinese customs prohibited the export of medical products without certifications from China’s National Medical Products Administration, even if the goods had been registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. On Friday China added another hurdle, subjecting certain types of surgical protective gear and equipment—including ventilators and masks—to extra checks before they could be shipped overseas.
Printed circuit boards used in ventilators manufactured by General Electric Co. sat in a warehouse for five days because of confusion over the new rules, according to people familiar with the matter. Without the shipment, a GE ventilator production line in Wisconsin would likely have run out of parts and have to suspend work.
After days of negotiations between manufacturers, local authorities and a business association, the shipment finally left Shanghai in a plane bound for the U.S. on Sunday, they said.
Others are still stuck. Virginia-based health-care logistics firm Owens & Minor Inc. has a shipment of 2.4 million masks that meet Food and Drug Administration specifications stuck in a warehouse in Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport because the products lack the newly required certification, according to one of the State Department memos. It said hospital operator Emory Healthcare can’t get 100,000 N95 face masks and 40,000 isolation gowns out of China for the same reason.
Cellex Inc., a biotech company based in North Carolina that has received inquiries from at least four state governments eager to purchase their coronavirus antibody tests, hasn’t been able to fill orders without the Chinese certification, despite receiving an FDA emergency-use authorization on April 1, the memo said.
Owens, Emory and Cellex didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Suppliers said the urgent demand has created a “complete sellers’ market,” with prices changing daily as factories, inundated by offers, dictate minimum purchasing quantities and buying conditions.
“China’s between a rock and a hard place,” said Solomon Matzner, the Shanghai-based founding partner of BioAktive Specialty Products who assists U.S. and German institutions in sourcing KN95 masks. “They need to get as much product out as possible, but on the other hand, Chinese products are being criticized for quality.”
China: we are producing 20 times the PPE and medical supplies before the outbreak so there's bound to be some rubbish in there made by cowboys, to make sure you get the good quality stuff please only buy from this list of trusted sellers
Other countries- buys from shady sources because it's cheaper
Other countries: hey this PPE is shit, it doesn't pass any quality check!
China: well okay fine, we will now conduct quality check on all exported PPE and medical supplies to ensure quality
Other countries: hey what's with the hold up on PPE export? Are you trying to kill us?
Yeah, that's what happened in Spain. The embassy gave us a list of trustworthy vendors, but the goverment bought them from another source with the help of someone anomymous so we got trash tests.
The best part? There's rumors that the anonymous guy who interceded was our own king. Zarzuela anounced that the king interceded to buy certain number of tests, exactly the same number of ineffective tests.
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If only there was some warnings in January that could have signal the need to start developing personal protective equipment. Or if there was some play book or other guide for a unified administrative response.
To be fair I started paying attention on 25/01/2019, but only started buying PPE for my family on that one night when both Diamond Princess and World Dream turned up with suspected cases and were refused for docking at their ports.
I saw that and I was like "welp, shit's fucked".
This has been talked about for well over a decade. But people say that with one side of their face, while loving the low cost of cheap goods over at Wal-Mart and mindlessly consume none other than... Chinese goods.
Call me when there’s more than just talk on a large scale.
Didnt hear any American shareholders complain when they made fat profits by offshoring and exploiting cheap labour overseas.
China didnt come into America, take over factories and closing shit down. American companies did this. Vote with your own wallet.
Unfortunately, you’ll never convince the masses to check the label on every product they buy. That was tried in the 80s with the whole “buy American” thing and it fails the minute a product is 10 cents cheaper.
We need to stop doing business with China, and for that we’ll need regulations. I’m going to vote with my wallet, but I’m also going to vote with my vote.
The more Schadenfreude and pro-China posts I see on Reddit, the more it convinces me that their propaganda department is working full-time to try and destroy us from within.
People can put their heads in the sand if they want to, but make no mistake - China is the enemy.
China made products literally helped defend the US dollars value against inflation during the past 30 years, and helped maintain the US middle class lifestyle, despite US’ growth of population, out of control deficit, and deep-rooted systemic corruption.
If US does successfully decouple with China, good luck with that but it’s probably a farewell to the enjoyable lifestyle for at least half of its middle class.